When a new Pope is selected, the news is announced to the world via white smoke emanating from the chimney above St. Peter's square. What follows is a period of great suspense before one of the Cardinals appears on the balcony to announce to the world, "Habemus Papam!": We have a Pope.
To anybody with a vested interest in the Pope, the period of time between seeing the white smoke and the appearance of the new Pope himself must be excruciating. For a cancer patient, the period of time between learning that your previously-opposed doctors are now "on the same page now on how to move forward" and finding out what "page" they are actually on is possibly even more excruciating. And that's where I'm at now.
By way of background, I had two goals this week: Follow up with Dr. Zelenetz from Sloan-Kettering, and get Dr. Li (U-M) and Dr. Anderson (Henry Ford) in touch with Dr. Advani from Stanford. Dr. Zelenetz is out this week; I might be able to speak with him on Monday. However, I have made progress with Dr. Advani. I spent five days trying to get Dr. Li and Dr. Anderson to call her, and trust me, trying to get three doctors in touch with each other is no small task.
But it seems to have happened, and Dr. Advani's assistant responded to an e-mail yesterday thusly:
Hi Nick,So...yeah. I'm ok with not being able to speak to the doctor directly - Stanford was always up front about the fact that Dr. Advani would review my case and speak to my doctors, and then have them follow up with me. I understand that hospitals want to limit patient-doctor contact in these informal reviews.
Dr. Advani spent about 20 minutes discussing your case and both oncologist are on the same page now on how to move forward and will be in the best position to discuss plan with you.
But I have no clue how a 20-minute conversation could bring "both oncologists" who have disagreed for months onto "the same page." So much so that I followed up by asking the question again, and again getting an affirmative answer. So, there you are.
For what it's worth, I'm not entirely concerned with what page my doctors are on, so long as they are on the same one. What keeps me up at night is not the prospect of doing more treatment, it's the uncertainty surrounding that decision. So whether Dr. Anderson now thinks more treatment is a better option or Dr. Li is cool with my original regimen is not of great importance (of course, I would prefer one to the other). Getting them to agree would go a long way toward alleviating much of my stress.
So today is "try to get in touch with my doctors knowing that it could possibly lead to a 6pm friday phone call" day. I'll keep you posted.